Malta - Finland 1-2
Rotherham - Crystal Palace 1-2
What can you remember from your life? Can you remember the highs? Or just the lows? Or is all of your life worth of remembering? Don’t forget, if you can remember something, it was already worth it.
Scoring against England? In the World Cup –qualification game at Anfield? You could easily think that would be my dearest memory. It is supposed to be and feel the highlight of my career. People always remind me about it and without a doubt it is a big moment for me. However when I think of my football it feels like just a tiny chapter of it all. Because I can also remember as clear how neighbours Fat-Jack brutally tackled me at the kinder-garden games. Plus I remember what the Norwegian supporters sang to me when I was introduced to my new club there. I can also remember myself proudly admiring number six at the back of my very first youth kit. I remember a whole lot. And the memory of how packed Turkish stadium turned into a total silence or reading my name from a local paper back in 1991 feels the same. Most of them do. I can remember so many victories, defeats and postponed games.
I have only vague memories of my graduation from school but I can easily remember the pen I used signing my first agent contract. I also remember when I was told that I was not good enough. I don’t need to be reminded about the vibes in my back when I heard the Champions League tune before our first home game. I remember speculating the Premier league table at home. I remember crying after losing with penalties to fcnobodys third team. I will never forget how I wanted to tell everyone in my village that I had just joggled over one hundred. I remember placing Ruud Gullits autograph to my wall and I remember a tapping goal I made at a youth derby. I can remember many sole situations, goals, friends, referees and thoughts on my way to training.
Some memories are good and some are bad. Like I can remember the nine months of desperation with a knee injury but also how excited we were with friends when we could watch English league on Saturdays. I remember how FC Tivertons center half won a header from me and I remember the expression at Zidanes face when I fouled him. I remember the bearded geezer who gave the medals in youth tournament. I remember how my granny said I shouldn’t trip the other player. I can remember as good my first pay slip than a joke Dougie Freedman told at the locker room. I remember that perfect pass nobody ever saw. I do also remember running tracks, night outs, sole comments, training camps, flat balls, tiredness and fit girls in the stands.
Football creates memories. Not just memories about the game but about myself as well. They make me feel alive. It is not just a memory but it is also a feeling to remember how nervously I was watching the text telly with my betting slips. I can describe how ball bounces from every inch of the wooden wall at my back yard. I remember how I was still half a sleep when my Mom started strapping my ankles for the high schools morning practise. I remember a lot from the thousands of hours I have spent alone with the ball. I remember the celebration variations we practised with national team mates in hotels. League tables, stadiums, showers that didn’t work, unfair sides at street games, even the models of skin pads other players used, these are all still alive in my head.
Millions of big and small but lovely things I can still remember. The list of memories and feelings are endless, coloured by ups and downs. And every single memory is important, highlight at its own way. Football has been my profession, hobby and a way of living. I think if you can’t remember much of your way of living, you are doing a wrong thing. I can. I remember almost all of it. Many feelings and memories from the park games ten years ago are as good, strong and colourful as are the feelings now from the crowded stadiums as a professional player.
That is the beauty of it: all the different memories can’t be put in any order, they are all special. It doesn’t need to look big to be a big memory. Playing, watching, supporting, reading, betting or just being involved, you can enjoy football at many ways and at many different levels. And it should be played and participated the way and level you enjoy it the most. Then you will remember. Because memories start happening when you have enjoyed what you have been doing. That makes it so special to remember the trick which sealed the win over Fat-Jack in the park game back in 1985.